The 7 habits of great service teams

By Duncan Troup on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 in Blog.

I have been reflecting on the role i play in organisations as i start to focus in on the Tingle Tree value proposition. This led me to revisit Covey’s 7 habits of highly successful people – a well worn text for many people i know. As part of this re-acquaintance i realised that the essence of great service, economic service and customer centric culture lies in this text. Here’s why…

Independence (Self-Mastery)

1 – Be Proactive

Reading this i hear own your service execution and its ability to be great. Don’t make excuses and make a difference – even if just a little at a time.

2 – Begin with the End in Mind

Reading this i hear make sure you think about your service “outside in”. By that i mean understanding your customer – which is why you’re here. But also understand the contextual constraints – such as what is the unit cost to serve that your industry can bear to be competitive?

3 – Put First Things First

Reading this i hear lean. Being more specific applying the principles of Cost of Delay to make sure every hour of effort in attaining the goal is valuable in the context of the big picture and most importantly other competing work.

 Interdependence (Working with Others)

 4 – Think Win-Win

In the context of my beliefs, when i read this i hear cost control and great service can be an AND and doesn’t have to be an OR. If you remove waste you will most likely reduce costs – BUT you will likely also improve the experience. Too often cost cutting becomes service dilution if waste is not the target. In my view it’s a bit rich to say you’ve made a saving if you’ve diluted experience. That’s not cost saving, thats a service level transformation. It may justified in the context of the business but, if not, can bring down a business.

5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Reading this it is another angle on the outside in discussion. Seek to extract a hassle map for your customers so you understand what’s the barrier to a great experience. Likewise, seek to understand what process steps are in the way of the service staff from delivering on that expectation. Setting the employees free to, in turn, set the customer free is central to my philosophy on service.

6 – Synergize

When i read this i hear right sourcing and workforce planning. Great operational teams draw on a blend of specialists on salary and partners to make sure all the bases are covered at the leanest cost. Increasingly this also includes “the crowd” – i.e. peer / community support as i’ve discussed in previous posts.  It is the recognition that there this blend of great functional context and technical content is what creates awesome service  teams.

Continuous Improvements 

7 – Sharpen the Saw

When i read this i reflect on when great service teams have maintained the ability to look at their estate from the balcony and get off the dance floor. In Agile or Lean Thinking teams, this can be seen through the allocation of capacity for innovation and fixing root cause. In summary, great service people attend to the system as well as the task.

So there you have – how Covey’s habits apply to great service delivery teams. And i hope this is a mindset that i can bring to the advisory work we do at Tingle Tree and to the mindset of my clients.

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